Storium Theory: Challenges That Matter

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 10th, 2016. I’ve written quite a bit here on challenges in Storium. I’ve written about the mechanics of a challenge, the way to play cards on one, the way to set up a challenge with narration, and even a possible house rule about playing single cards at a time. Plenty more will come on the mechanics in the future, I’m sure. But right now, I want to discuss another part of challenges, something just as important…actually, probably quite a bit more important than the mechanical side of things, the setup of a challenge, or anything else involved in them. That’s…making challenges matter. It’s important to remember that what you’re doing when...

Storium Theory: House Rules: Single-Card Plays

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 8th, 2016. I’d like to discuss something a little different today–rather than looking at an aspect of the Storium system itself, I’d like to look at the relative merits of a “house rule” of sorts–a requirement a narrator might impose on his game, outside of the general rules of the Storium system. As with any gaming system, narrators in Storium sometimes find that the rules as written don’t quite suit what they’re going for, or feel that they need to specify something extra to get play to work the way they’d like. Today, I’m going to write on one such rule that I’ve encountered: “Only single-card plays allowed.” My last post...

Storium Theory: Multi-Card Moves

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on March 3rd, 2016. I’ve spent the last couple of posts discussing cardless moves…now, it’s time to dive back in to the cards. In Storium, you can play up to three cards in a single move (and, incidentally, up to three cards in a scene as a whole, which is used to limit the total narrative impact any one character can have in a scene). Sometimes, you might decide to play only one at a time, while at other times you might choose to play two or even three in a single move. This is actually a pretty major decision. In game system terms, the more cards you play on a single move, the less card-based moves you’re making in a scene, but the more that single move pushes the challenge forward in...

Storium Theory: Add Some Color with Cardless Moves

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 25th, 2016. I spend a lot of time on this blog writing about how you can use Storium‘s system to support a good story. I write about setting up challenges, playing cards, choosing your cards, and all sorts of ways to use the system to guide your storytelling. But there’s something I’d like to discuss today that, in a way, is the inverse of that…an element of Storium‘s system that I haven’t much mentioned on the blog yet. Cardless moves. Storium does not require a card to be played when you make a move, so moves outside of the “challenge” structure are clearly possible. But…when should you make a move outside the challenge structure, and what should...

Storium Theory: Use the Characters You Chose

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 18th, 2016. In my last post, I talked about how players had a duty to support the game world in their character design. Here, I’d like to talk about the other side: the duty of the narrator to support the characters he has in his game. As narrator, you can put a lot of work into your own special world, and a lot of prep work into the story you want to tell. It’s easy to let that overwhelm things–to make a world and story that feel set, even before you have any player characters. But Storium is a collaborative writing game. When a player submits a character, the player wants to see that character get involved in the story–to see the character’s themes brought up, Subplot...

Storium Theory: No Card Play is “Wasted”

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on February 2nd, 2016. Quick note before we begin: The Storium Arc blog has now caught up to the Gaming Creatively one. From this point on, my Storium Theory posts will come one day after the Gaming Creatively versions. They will appear here twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays. As a slight side jaunt before we outright continue the discussion of character arcs, I’d like to talk a bit here about how character arcs interact with one particular situation that can arise during Storium games: playing a card on a challenge when the results are already clear. It happens from time to time: the challenge gets past the halfway point, there’s still a few slots for card plays, but so many Strengths or Weaknesses...